The Adventure Starts Here: Christmas in New York - Radio City, Rockefeller, and Santa!

Monday, December 21, 2015

Christmas in New York - Radio City, Rockefeller, and Santa!

On Friday, we spent the day in NYC doing all the fun Christmas stuff.  We started the tradition of going in to the city in December back in 2013, when Noah had just turned 1.  While every year we have a slightly different itinerary, many activities stay the same :)  This year, we had tickets to the Radio City Christmas Spectacular and reservations to see Santa at Macy's.  You can see what we did in 2014 and 2013 here. 

This year, we opted against driving right into the city.  We hit horrible traffic when we did it in the Summer, so instead, we decided to drive to a train station that's closer to the city (and has more train times) and take a train into Penn Station.  Noah is a fan of trains, but we weren't sure how he'd do on the 70 minute train ride from our town.  We also wanted more flexibility with timing for getting there and coming home.  This was the perfect option, since the actual train ride was only 10-15 minutes and trains ran every 10 minutes (at least).  

While the weather forecast called for high 40s, it felt much colder with the clouds and wind.  I'm glad I didn't listen to Chris (who always opts for a light jacket or none at all) and still wore an actual winter jacket and dressed Noah in his regular winter coat and hat :)  We arrived in Penn Station and decided against the 25 minute walk to Radio City and instead took a taxi.  Noah was actually really excited for his first taxi ride.  Later on in the day he started saying "let's take a taxi instead"... it was too funny!  

Since Chris is always concerned about being late, we added in lots of time, and ended up getting to Radio City a full hour before the show.  While I would have loved to sleep in a little later, I appreciate that Chris is a planner and always makes sure we arrive on time (or early) to places.  Thankfully the weather was pretty mild at this point so we walked around, looked at some of the decorations and took a bunch of photos :)

Noah's coat and hat are from Hanna Andersson but no longer online
My coat is last year from Gap
my jeans | my boots | Noah's jeans

^^^ an impromptu game of peek-a-boo with his hat ;)

Finally, it was time for the show!  Chris had seen the show many years ago and I went back in 2007 with my cousins who were visiting from Canada.  Friends of ours, who have a daughter a year older than Noah, told us they were going for the second year and asked if we were interested.  They had a special promotion on tickets, and while we didn't end up sitting with our friends, we decided it was worth a try and hoped Noah was old enough to go.  The show was amazing and Noah was interested in it as much as a three year old could be.  He loved it whenever Santa came on stage but wasn't as into the dancing parts as I was... 3 year olds don't really appreciate the complexity of some of the choreography.  Towards the end of the show, we had one outburst where Noah wanted something (I can't even remember what it was now) and started crying.  I took him out to the back area to calm him down and a super nice usher brought him some stickers that made everything better. We went back in and finished watching the show while eating some fruit snacks.  Despite the incident, I think Noah did really well considering the show was about an hour and 45 minutes long.  He told me his favorite part was the end when the confetti that exploded over the audience, but that he also liked Santa, the reindeer, and the soldiers.  I also really liked the Christmas in NYC parts with the double decker bus on stage.  I was also forgot (and was amazed) that they brought real animals (like sheep and camels) on stage for the live nativity!  If you go to NYC anytime around Thanksgiving/Christmas, make sure you see this show.  It really is fun for all ages!

After the show, we met up with our friends and went to get lunch.  We were bummed (and shocked) that it was raining when we walked outside.  Rain was definitely not in the forecast and we were worried it would ruin our plans.  We were beyond relieved that it completely stopped while we were inside eating.  We went to the Stardust diner, and while the food is just average, it was fun to watch the waiters sing and perform while we ate.  It's also a great spot to take kids since it's so loud and casual, and no one will even notice if they aren't the best behaved ;)

From there, we started walking to Macy's to see Santa, and decided to make a pitstop at the Rockefeller tree.  Chris and I have gone each year for a photo in front of the tree and I definitely wanted to go again this year.  Unfortunately (for our family photo), Noah fell asleep on our walk over.  But in reality, I'm relieved he took a little nap, because he was getting a little cranky at lunch and was asking to go home.  The nap did the trick and was ready to keep going when he woke up :)

^^^ Noah had no clue we even went to the tree!

Our next stop was Macy's.  Our friends, who went last year, let us in on the secret that you can make reservations to see Santa rather than standing in a long line.  I say it's a secret because I was shocked at how many people did not make a reservation and instead stood in a line that looked to be 3 hours long!  With our reservation, we literally walked in and saw Santa 5 minutes later.  They have multiple Santas set up in little rooms down a bunch of little hallways.  The kids get to go up to Santa and chat with him and then get a photo with him.  Noah was super shy and asked Chris to go with him and we ended up taking another family photo with Santa.  While the photo from our previous visit with Santa turned out better, I'm still really glad we went to meet the "real" Santa ;)  

From there, we went to look at the window displays outside Macy's.  Because of Macy's "Believe"  campaign and letter writing commercials with Virginia, there were a bunch of "Yes, Virginia..." displays.  I wasn't too familiar with the whole concept, but Noah's friend was a total fan and even has a Virginia doll and is pretty obsessed with the movie.  

There were also a bunch of Peanuts window displays, which were definitely Noah's and my favorites!    We especially loved the one with Shroeder's piano and the one where Snoopy flies on his doghouse.  

We were all starting to get tired at this point, so we decided to say goodbye to our friends and walk back to Penn Station.  Part of me wishes we could have kept going and seen more of the window displays on 5th avenue or even gone to the train exhibit at Grand Central Station, but I think we made the right decision in heading home in time for dinner.  

Christmas in NYC 2014 & 2013


  1. This is magical!!!! I've always wanted to go during the holidays!

  2. I've never been to NYC & it is on my wishlist to go during the holidays! Everything looks so beautiful & magical!

  3. Best trip ever! What a great tradition. So much fun to go see the city this time of year. I've never been myself, but love the picture the tree santa the windows the show!!! all the things. Definitely magical.

  4. This is my dream!!! I'd LOVE to go to NYC in the winter and over Christmas! I'm dying to see all those things in person and am happy to hear that Noah did so well, especially in the show. Now I just need to convince myself that putting Mason on a cross country flight is a good idea and we'll come visit!

  5. This is awesome!! I love NYC at Christmas! How fun to do this every year with Noah. I'm so impressed with how good he was and how well he handled everything. Mac would have lost his mind 5 minutes into a show requiring him to sit still! ;)

  6. I am totally picturing Chris getting off balance and both of them tumbling into that fountain!

  7. My favorite time in NYC!!! I have never seen the Radio City Hall show, but it's on my list!


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